Health Care Costs Top Concerns for U.S. CFOs: Survey

By Jessica DuBois-Maahs

Aug. 2, 2013

Health care costs remain the top concern for chief financial officers who believe it is significantly affecting both company finances and the economy, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2013 CFO Outlook survey of 250 financial officers from across the United States.

Some 70 percent of CFOs listed health care costs as their main financial concern — almost equal to the next two concerns combined. Health care expenses were a bigger financial concern among CFOs than a company’s revenue growth, cash flow, taxes, energy costs and finding workers with the proper skill sets. The survey allowed for multiple answers, with revenue growth receiving the second-most responses at 42 percent.  

In addition, when asked about the potential impact on the U.S. economy this year, 72 percent of respondents again cited health care costs as their central concern, according to the survey, which was released in July. As the Affordable Care Act rolls out during the next several years, executives remain concerned about its financial impact. They list it as a greater financial concern than government regulations, the budget deficit and unemployment levels.

CFOs’ concerns over health care expenses has grown substantially in the past year; 51 percent of CFOs cited health care costs as their top issue in the same survey last year.

Despite the growing concern over health care costs, the survey found that CFOs are generally feeling better about the economy and have a positive outlook. More than half of survey respondents, 55 percent, believe the U.S. economy will expand in 2013 — a significant increase from six months ago where 39 percent believed the economy would expand.

Jessica DuBois-Maahs is Workforce's editorial intern. Comment below or email Follow DuBois-Maahs on Twitter at @JessDuBoisMaahs.

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